ATHENS — Millions of dollars will be on the line for Georgia’s outgoing players in the “House of Payne” indoor football facility on Wednesday morning.
Coach Kirby Smart said he can’t wait to cheer his players on at the Pro Day event, with all 32 NFL teams expected to be in attendance.
“I’ve followed each one of them, communicated with each one of them, and we as a coaching staff and really organization are pulling really hard for those guys,” Smart said at his spring football press conference on Tuesday.
“The best thing that could happen for us is for each one of those guys to be drafted as high as possible, and for our program, and we’re looking forward to having a hell of a draft because we have the potential to have a lot of guys drafted,” he said. “So the better those guys do tomorrow, the better the chance is of that.”
Thorpe Award winning cornerback Deandre Baker is still widely projected as a first-round pick after running an official 4.52-second 40-yard dash at the NFL combine on March 4.
Baker will run his 40-yard dash again, according to his agent, Andy Simms of Young Money APAA.
“A 4.52 is a totally acceptable time, it’s the average corner in the NFL, and many guys would be thrilled with it,” Simms said. “But he was not happy with it.”
Simms pointed out the combine can present some challenge circumstances for players wanting optimum results, particular one like Baker who was up until midnight each night doing formal interviews with several NFL teams.
“He had not run more than a 4.4 40 leading up to the combine,” Simms said. “He wants to show everyone what he can do.”
D’Andre Walker, another Simms’ client, won’t be able to work out for NFL scouts until he’s further along in the healing process after undergoing hernia surgery on Jan. 24.
Walker, who was enjoying an MVP performance against Alabama in the SEC Championship Game before suffering the injury, will be present to weigh in and be measured.
Walker will continue to work toward an individual workout for teams tentatively scheduled for April 12.
Other Georgia players expected to run field drills and re-time in the 40 include tight end Isaac Nauta (4.91), receiver Riley Ridley (4.58), tailback Elijah Holyfield (4.78) and defensive end Jonathan Ledbetter (5.14).
All three of the outgoing Bulldogs had disappointing performances at the NFL combine and would benefit from better results at Georgia’s pro day.
Mecole Hardman (4.33 in the 40) had arguably the best NFL combine performance among the Georgia players, so he’s expected to do no more than position drills.
Mecole Hardman from NFL Combine
DawgNation from NFL combine
- WATCH: Day 4 NFL combine wrap, AJC-DawgNation
- WATCH: Day 3 NFL combine wrap, AJC-DawgNation
- WATCH: Day 2 NFL combine wrap, AJC-DawgNation
- WATCH: Day 1 NFL combine wrap, AJC-DawgNation
- Making Georgia-Florida home-and-home would ‘add more to the rivalry’
- Riley Ridley relays UGA practices ‘just like’ New England Patriots
- WATCH: Deandre Baker shares pain of skipping Sugar Bowl
- Georgia football’s Mecole Hardman flashes SEC speed at combine
- Uncertainty for D’Andre Walker in NFL, where does he fit?
- Riley Ridley ‘can’t wait’ for meeting with Atlanta Falcons
- Confident Deandre Baker gives NFL Network an earful
- Second-guessing Georgia football underclassmen at combine
- Georgia football TE Isaac Nauta misses mark in 40
- Inside look ahead to new Georgia DC Dan Lanning
- Isaac Nauta predicts Georgia will ‘throw it a lot more’ in 2019
- Lamont Gaillard: NFL teams keep talking about Sam Pittman
- Elijah Holyfield explains why he left Georgia football early